Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor basketball players embrace mentoring opportunity at summer camp

Gig Harbor’s Brynna Maxwell, fresh off a huge season, helps campers with their dribbling skills in a summer camp last week.
Gig Harbor’s Brynna Maxwell, fresh off a huge season, helps campers with their dribbling skills in a summer camp last week. Staff writer

The Gig Harbor High School girls basketball team made the most of its time in its summer camp last week, mentoring younger girls and having a fun time in the process.

“It’s really fun working with the younger kids,” said junior post Grace Neil. “I find it really entertaining. They’re learning. We were once learning. I always looked up to the high schoolers and I assume they’re looking up to us. So it’s kind of cool to be a role model to them and just hopefully someday they’ll end up here with us, loving the game as much as we do.”

Campers learned a strong set of fundamentals, including ball handling, passing, defense and how to work together as a team. The high school players got the rare opportunity to experience the sport from the coaching point of view.

“The girls, what I tell and teach them on the court, they’re now having to teach someone else and relay that information so it’s great for the basketball mind,” said Gig Harbor coach Megan Murray.

The camp featured drills, games and scrimmaging. For a lot of the high school players, they went to similar camps when they were young. So being able to engage on the flip side of the coin and be mentors for the younger girls is a nice change of pace.

“It’s super cool,” said Gig Harbor senior guard Kendall Liberty. “Knowing that they’re coming to some of the games and watching us and then seeing them here, it’s super cool. I think it’s a cool aspect to have.”

Gig Harbor recently wrapped up its summer season, posting a 7-0 record in the Curtis Summer League but struggling a bit in some more prestigious tournaments, going 1-3 in two separate tournaments in June.

“We got to play against a lot of state-caliber teams, so that was a good experience,” Murray said.

While the team returns a solid core, the Tides lost a few key seniors from last year’s state run. The summer is a good time to make some adjustments.

“I think we played really well together,” Liberty said. “I think knowing we want to get right back to where we were last year and having to work really hard to get back there motivates us,” Liberty said.

The team improved as June went on and is feeling going about where things stand as the offseason progresses.

“We just worked on moving the ball, coming together as a team and getting to play all five of us together,” Neil said.

And hopefully, when the younger girls get into high school and look to continue what Murray has established at Gig Harbor, they will have taken away from lessons from the summer camps they’ve participated in.

“We’ve been a lot more competitive in camp,” Murray said. “We want them to be ready to compete when they get to high school and also come into high school with a basic, fundamental set and we can go from there.”